Copyright © KATIE O’SULLIVAN, 2009
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
The following excerpt from UNFOLDING THE SHADOWS is the first time we actually get to see Jillian talking with a ghost…
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Opening her mother’s refrigerator, Jillian found the last of the white wine Debra had brought over the night before and poured it into a glass. As she entered the living room, she felt the distinct crackle of psychic energy run through her body. The soothing scent of lavender water wafted through the room and Jillian was enveloped by a familiar sense of ease. She scanned the empty room, searching.
“Grandma?” she whispered with slight disbelief. She felt rather than heard the reply as a comforting energy settled around her. Jillian relaxed slowly onto her mother’s couch, careful not to spill her wine.
As a child she had conversed with spirits easily, an ability her mother had taken advantage of in her holistic healing practice. Her grandmother had been Jillian’s guide, coming to her when she was troubled. That all seemed so far in the past and yet the knowledge came flooding back into Jillian’s mind.
“Grandma,” Jillian repeated, “I know you’re here. Can you show yourself to me? I need you.”
A silvery shadow began to manifest beside her on the couch, gaining strength as Jillian watched. “I’m here, Jill dear. I’ve been here all along,” floated the soft voice that Jillian remembered.
Jillian could make out the outline of a woman’s form, then her grandmother’s features slowly came into focus. Her expression was one of both patience and infinite sadness, so sad that Jillian felt the weight of it as if it were physical.
“What is troubling you, my dear?” asked the shimmering being.
“My life, Grandma. My life is a mess.” Jillian shook her head and looked down at her wine glass. “I don’t know who I am anymore. Or who I want to be.”
The scent of lavender grew stronger. “It seems to me we had this conversation years ago, when you decided to stop using your gifts.”
“I wanted to see what it would be like to be normal,” Jillian said in a low voice. “I thought you were on my side, even if Mom didn’t understand.”
The energy around her Grandmother’s form blazed brighter for a moment, then softened. “All I want for you is happiness,” came the reply.
“Why are you here now? Why can I see you again after all these years? What has changed?”
“Everything. Your mother has taken it upon herself to shift the balance of our family. The time has come for you to take up the mantle of your gifts and embrace them.”
“So I need to do this for my mother?” Jillian shook her head and took a gulp of her wine. “I don’t think so. I got tired of her using me. I put aside my connection to the spirit world almost seventeen years ago.”
“I remember, dear.”
“I’ve ignored my gifts for longer than I used them,” Jillian added.
“Ah, but they are not gone,” cajoled her grandmother’s soft voice. “They come back to you here and there, when you’re in need.”
Jillian bowed her head, unwilling to admit the truth. She had worked hard to keep those interactions between herself and the spirit world minimal, and secret. “Maybe so. But what do you mean about Mom?”
“Your mother was never the same after Jasper died. It especially hurt her that you were still linked to him when she was not. That you could still talk with me when she could not.”
“She didn’t seem to have a problem with me talking to you when she needed your help,” Jillian spat, angry at the memories stirring within her.
“As she used Jasper before you. You must understand, my dear. Anna longed for the healing gifts I possessed and so wanted to follow in my footsteps. I thought she was on the right path. And then Jasper died.” The glimmering energy dulled again with sadness. “Her confidence faltered. Anna would have made many more mistakes during those first few years after my death had not your ability to speak with me for advice helped conceal her shortcomings. Over the years, Anna’s become a competent healer. She may not be gifted in the holistic arts, but she does her best.”
“But I haven’t talked to you in years, Grandma. I closed off that part of myself. I ask you again, what has changed? Is it something to do with Mom?”
“You said it yourself, Jillian. The clairvoyance is a part of who you are. Just because you close a door doesn’t mean it will remain closed forever.”
“What will Kyle think? And what about the kids?”
The spirit blazed brightly again. “It is because of the children that this path must be reopened. There are too many secrets in your life, my child.”
“I don’t understand.”
The sparkling light began to dim, the energy dissipating. “It will all become clear in time, my dear. Right now you need sleep.”
As her grandmother’s image faded, Jillian began to panic. “Wait, will I see you again? What about Auntie?”
The form was gone, but the soothing voice came to her from what seemed far away. “My twin will soon join me. Do not trouble yourself, as she no longer feels the pain, just the sadness.”
The voice faded, as did the remaining energy in the room. Jillian was left feeling drained, her strength all but gone. She drew a deep breath and rose from the couch to put her glass in the kitchen sink. As she climbed the stairs to her childhood bedroom, she felt her past swirling around her, the secrets she’d kept for so long bubbling to the surface, peeking out from the shadowy spaces where they’d lain hidden.
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If that excerpt just wasn't enough, check back tomorrow for Chapter 1!!!!!!!